Former President Donald Trump can be deposed in a lawsuit brought by former FBI agent Peter Strzok, a federal judge has ruled.
The ruling came from U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson late Thursday. Just a day earlier the Justice Department requested that she block Trump from sitting for a deposition in the lawsuit, ABC News reported.
Strzok was fired and FBI attorney Lisa Page resigned after text messages emerged that showed the two making critical comments about Trump. Both were working on the investigation into Trump’s alleged ties to Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The Justice Department had maintained that requiring a deposition from Trump in the case “is not appropriate,” especially since there is no evidence suggesting that the FBI fired Strzok at Trump’s direction, ABC News said.
The lawsuit alleges that Strzok’s firing “was the result of a long and public campaign by President Trump and his allies to vilify Strzok and pressure the agency to terminate him.”
Justice Department attorneys had argued that FBI Director Christopher Wray should be deposed first because he had a lower rank compared to Trump, and his information could negate the need for Trump to testify.
But the Washington Examiner noted Jackson said in her brief court order: “Given the limited nature of the deposition that has been ordered, and the fact that the former President’s schedule appears to be able to accommodate other civil litigation that he has initiated, the outcome of the balancing required by the apex doctrine remains the same for all of the reasons previously stated.”
Jackson’s motion rejects the Justice Department’s request to bar Trump from testifying.
“While to the extent the individuals deposed to date recalled the events in question, their testimony did not advance plaintiffs’ theory that the former President was involved in the decision making at issue in this case, the fact remains that the former President himself has publicly boasted of his involvement.”